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Think Pink: Brand Scores from the 2024 Global RepTrak 100 report

Corporate Reputation09 May, 2024

Our annual Global RepTrak 100 report provides a comprehensive year-over-year analysis that quantifies and contextualizes the pulse of public sentiment and its impact on corporate performance. Our twenty years of reputation tracking has taught us that wholistically managing your corporate reputation takes more than counting clicks. That’s why RepTrak’s suite of reputation metrics includes Brand Scores.  

Brand and reputation serve as the twin pillars of a company's public persona. They’re inextricably woven into an organization's identity, but each has an individual purpose. The essence of a brand lies in the identity that a company projects out to the world. It's an internal manifestation of an organization's vision, values, personality, and communication. In contrast, reputation is the external reflection of how effectively a company lives up to its brand promise in the eyes of stakeholders. Together, brand and reputation form a dynamic ecosystem that drives trust, loyalty, and value — that’s why we measure them both. 

Even as the Reputation Score decreased in GRT 2022, we saw a YoY increase in Brand. 2023, however, saw the first decline of the Global Brand Score in years (72.2, ▼0.7). Because brand is typically the reputational arena where organizations can exert the most control, we were surprised to see the dip. 

Global Brand Scores Over Time

Now, Brand is back and better than ever. Literally. This year’s ▲0.9-point increase has taken Brand to a Strong 73.1, the highest Score we’ve ever tracked for this element. We were worried that branding efforts were losing their way, with less connection between promise and action. In last year’s report, we stated:  

In general, organizations don’t appear to be reading the room well, sending out tone deaf gestures and advertising while partnering with flawed influencers in a flawed influencer market.  

Read the 2023 Global RepTrak 100 Report 

This year, we saw branding efforts come out in big pink waves and consumers couldn’t get enough. Whether or not you saw it, the Barbie movie created a branding superstorm unlike any other. The aesthetics of the film catered to a playful nostalgic pink-plastic that transcended the cinema and permeated everything from experiences to consumer goods. This hyper-feminine pink frenzy, culturally dubbed “barbiecore,” wasn’t just employed by Mattel (the owners of the Barbie brand). These branding efforts were embraced by companies in nearly every industry, and they didn’t feel plastic. 

Mattel 2024 Brand Score Spotlight

Mattel’s Barbie partnerships acknowledged the power of a woman’s dollar — genuinely aligning a plot point of the film and the history of Barbie with real social and economic values that resonated with stakeholders of every age. Women drive the majority of global spending and are strong influencers of purchase decisions in and out of their households. This year, companies’ marketing and communications efforts spoke to the multifaceted dynamism of women and their wallets. That direct recognition women received from branding initiatives in turn drove reputational growth for those companies. Senior Director of Advisory in the Americas, Lyndsey Tierney, shares “you want women to feel proud of the decisions they make to generate earned attention toward your brand. It’s not just about the product or service you offer, but how you make people feel in using your brand and supporting your company.”  

This year we also saw women’s money jumpstart various markets in the phenomena of Taylor Swift’s and Beyoncé's world tours (we couldn’t not mention them in this report). From sporting events, to travel, and back to the box-office, marcomms that mentioned these two superstars were a gold mine for branding. “Brands were able to garner a lot of attention this year, playing into topical narratives that they could be authentic to,” states Tierney. “If you are a well-run company, with a largely female audience or a strong female leader for example, this was your year to jump into cultural conversations seamlessly and authentically.”  

The shift from previous years' missteps to this year's triumphs in branding highlights the critical importance of authenticity and cultural sensitivity. This year we saw the resurgence in Brand Scores, buoyed by culturally resonant phenomena. 

To keep Brands Scores growing in 2024, Tierney advises: “don’t wait for a trend to exist and try to force a reaction. Instead, proactively build a strong company narrative so that when your time comes, you're ready for something that’s already aligned with you. Otherwise, you're putting your reputation at risk. Remember the all-male leadership team in the Barbie movie? Ironically comical on-screen, not so funny in the real world.” 

Lyndsey Tierney Quote Brand Score

We must give necessary praise to the companies that seized the golden (or better, pink) opportunity to showcase their authenticity. They won over stakeholders during “Barbie summer,” and we hope that businesses will continue to use this as an example of how to leverage cultural events for reputational wins. When companies authentically lean into the zeitgeist, branding efforts resonate with the core values of their stakeholders; and the impact of this will last long beyond any single event. 

Although the pink buzz has fizzled, your favor with stakeholders doesn’t have to. Request a demo to learn more about your Brand and Reputation Scores. 

How is RepTrak different from a brand tracker? 

We’re not a brand tracker. We’re more than a brand tracker. At RepTak, we believe that your entire brand is made of more than “likes” and “mentions.” Sure, they are important, and that’s why we track Brand as part of our comprehensive suite of metrics. Brand and Reputation are complementary to each other, not synonymous. A brand tracker stops at marketing performance, and we track that — but then take it to the next level. We help businesses understand public sentiment, manage crises, and build trust with stakeholders by evaluating feedback from stakeholders across multiple channels and outlets. Lasting relationships with stakeholders require two-way communication. In other words, you’ll need to track what your brand says as much as you need to track what people are saying back.  

Without the right tools, campaign missteps can turn into big brand blunders. Our Campaign Impact tool helps you assess the noise that your initiatives make, and informs how they, in turn, shape your reputation. This tool doesn’t just count clicks. It dissects your campaigns so you can create, nurture, and scale successful initiatives with ROIs that go beyond gaining followers. 

Learn more  

2024 GRT Spread - Horizontal

Read the full report

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